Peace to DV One. via Breakdown FM w/ Davey D

When you talk about Hip Hop in the Emerald City (Seattle), you will lose all credibility if you don’t give props to Gabriel Teodros. This Ethiopian/Scottish/ Native American emceee is a fixture in the scene who has made his mark first as a member of the group Abyssinian Creole and later as a member of the group 500 Years Collective. His solo album ‘Love Works’ is considered a masterpiece and one of the tightest albums to ever bless the city who’s Hip Hop scene was once only defined by Sir Mix-A-Lot

During our interview Gabriel talked about the way his Ethipion culture has influenced his music. he noted that his family did not approve of him rapping. They felt he was behaving like an outsider , but a conversation with his grandmother revealed that the Hip Hop and certain aspects within the oral tradition of East Africa were very similar.

Gabriel explained that he has embarked upon a new project called Andromeda The Chronicles of Blackopia Volume 1 which has allowed him and fellow Ethipioan artists to further explore their cultural roots. he said he’s been learning his native tongue and starting to flow over the rhythms most associated with East Africa. he said it was important to break out of the 4 count beat prison Hip Hop has locked us into.

During our interview we talked about gabriel’s activism. He noted that nowadays its hard to just be a rpapper in Seattle. Everyone is part of an organization and involved within some sort of activism. Just being a rapper is not enough. Everyone expects more from you.

He talked about the his experiences during the infamous WTO demonstrations-The Battle in Seattle and how Hip Hop although not often highlighted played a role. He talked about how people from his 500 Year Collective were among the first to get hit with tear gas and shot with rubber bullets. He noted that many folks were kneee deep into the demonstrations and that it unvealed some ugly truths about this pristine city.

He talked about the brutal nature of the police and how the WTO along with two highly publicized and suspect cases involving two Seattle Hip Hop icons DJ DVOne and spoken word /artist /teacher Rajinii forever politicized Seattle’s Hip Hop community. The case against DV One was especially chilling because it involved Seattle police man handling DV’s young pre teen daughter and DV getting taseredv and beat up by the police when he went to help. The police officers stratight up lied on the stand and DV was facing 5 years was found guilty. Although he didn’t have to serve the time, theis Hip Hop icon now has a police record and scars of an unprovoked beating and even harsher memories of the police hitting his little gilr for not moving fast enough.

With Rajinii he woulnd up getting brutalized and arrested by Seattle police when he came upon one of his students being arrested for littering. He asked the cops if the parents had been notified after identifying himself as a teacher which unfortunately enraged the cops who came after him in front of his students. He was later found Not Guilty with prejudice, meaning the jury found the cops crossed the line, but those two incidents which happened back to back underscored the need for artists to also be activists.

Garbriel concluded by talking about his albums including the the classic ‘Love Works’ and how its important for him to deliver compelling social and political messages.